Adolescent confidence in immunisation: Assessing and comparing attitudes of adolescents and adults

Bing Wang, Lynne Giles, Hossein Haji Ali Afzali, Michelle Clarke, Julie Ratcliffe, Gang Chen, Helen Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction There is limited knowledge of adolescent views and attitudes towards immunisation. Our study investigated adolescent attitudes to immunisation and compared differences in vaccination attitudes between adolescents and adults. Methods This study was a cross-sectional, national online survey. Recruitment was stratified by state and gender to ensure findings were nationally representative. Regression analyses were performed to assess and compare adolescent and adult views on vaccine benefits, community protection, risks, side effects, sources of information, and decision-making preference. Results In 2013, 502 adolescents and 2003 adults completed the online survey. Lower levels of vaccine confidence were observed in adolescents with adolescents less likely to believe vaccines are beneficial and/or safe compared to adults (p = 0.043). Compared to females, males were less confident of vaccine benefits (p < 0.05) but less concern about vaccine side effects (p < 0.05). Adolescents were more concerned about vaccine side effects than adults for pain (p < 0.001), redness or swelling (p < 0.001), and fever (p = 0.006). Adolescents were less likely than adults to consider health professionals (p < 0.001) and the media (e.g. internet) (p = 0.010) as important sources of information, and were more likely to seek information from social networks (p < 0.001) including families and schools. Although 62.0% of adolescents agreed that parents should make the decision about vaccination for them, adolescents were more likely to prefer a joint decision with parents (p < 0.001) or by themselves (p = 0.007) compared with adults. Conclusion Adolescents have a lesser understanding of vaccine safety and benefits than adults and have higher concerns about potential vaccine reactions. Improving adolescent awareness and knowledge of the benefits and risks of vaccination through school-based educational programs may improve confidence in and uptake of vaccines for adolescents and increase vaccine confidence in the next generation of parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5595-5603
Number of pages9
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016


  • Adolescents
  • Attitudes
  • Concerns
  • Immunisation


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